Open source body quits GitHub, urges you to do the same

The Register - Thu, 06/30/2022 - 16:28
Paid-for Copilot trained on FOSS code final straw for Software Freedom Conservancy

The Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC), a non-profit focused on free and open source software (FOSS), said it has stopped using Microsoft's GitHub for project hosting – and is urging other software developers to do the same.…

Categories: Tech News

How carbon emissions got caught up in a Supreme Court showdown

ARS Technica - Thu, 06/30/2022 - 16:00
A man walks up the steps of the US Supreme Court.

Enlarge / A man walks up the steps of the US Supreme Court. (credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Thursday's Supreme Court decision regarding the use of the Clean Air Act to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from power plants comes down to two specific issues: Should the Supreme Court take the case at all; and did Congress delegate sufficient authority to the EPA for it to implement a specific regulatory scheme first proposed during the Obama administration? But the case was decided against a backdrop of conflict between the court's conservative and liberal justices, and some of that conflict spills into this decision.

We'll tackle each issue below and discuss what this means for US climate policy. But one thing that should be clear is that this is a fairly minimalist decision since it applies only to the EPA's ability to regulate carbon emissions from existing facilities and not to environmental regulations more broadly. While it doesn't leave the EPA with an obvious next step, it leaves avenues for regulating new power plant construction.

Why now?

As described in our immediate coverage, the decision is focused on the Clean Power Plan, a set of EPA rules formulated during the Obama years that immediately faced lawsuits that put it on hold, where it remained until the Trump administration rescinded it. With yet another new administration in place, the EPA is now formulating replacement rules. As such, the EPA saw no reason for the Supreme Court to intervene at this point.

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Categories: Tech News

Meta: We need 5x more GPUs to combat TikTok, stat

The Register - Thu, 06/30/2022 - 15:30
Social media giant reportedly plans to get ‘leaner,' needs boatloads of graphics chips

Comment  Facebook parent Meta has reportedly said it needs to increase its fleet of datacenter GPUs fivefold to help it compete against short-form video app and perennial security concern TikTok.…

Categories: Tech News

The 7 Coolest Drops This Week, From Dickies to David Bowie Barbie

Motherboard (Vice) - Thu, 06/30/2022 - 15:24

Howdy! Is everybody ready to grab a red Solo cup, eat their weight in ‘tato salad, and (safely) light off a bunch of fireworks while a bald eagle soars overhead, screeching the Pledge of Allegiance, and Nick Cage repels from a Blackhawk helicopter down the Washington Monument to steal the Declaration of Independence?! No, just hot dogs and Nickelback on repeat? As long as there's cold beer, we’re in!

Last week, we hand-delivered some of the raddest, most summertime-good-vibes drops this side of the Atlantic, including an extra-wavy Fiorucci bucket hat, some Flo Rida level low-low-low jeans from the OG luxury-denim brand True Religion x Urban Outfitters collaboration, and gender-expansive basics from the colorful, fits-everyone underwear brand Parade to celebrate Pride Month.

This week, we’re bringing you a tasty menu of exciting new releases, and the most exciting collabs we’ve yet to hear of. We’re talking extremely aesthetic sex drive gummies from Maude, a very niche—yet incredibly wearable—backyard barbecuing-themed collaboration between Dickies and Traeger, and last (but certainly not least), an impeccably styled David Bowie Barbie that has every iteration of ourselves internally screaming.

Before you unwrap that Bomb Pop and unwind for the holiday break, peruse some fun and funky drops and launches to make your weekend that much sweeter.

Dame launches gummies

Rec Room’s resident sexpert, Mary Frances “Francky” Knapp recently wrote about the launch of Dame’s new Desire Gummies which are designed “to significantly improve mood, anxiety, and stress after four weeks of daily use [and to] decrease stress, a factor which can directly impact connectivity and sexual satisfaction,” according to the brand. “They’re also giving us Flintstones chewable vitamins nostalgia in the best way,” Knapp writes. The lineup of key ingredients includes ashwagandha (to manage stress and improves mood), L-theanine (to promote relaxation), mucuna (a building block of dopamine, a.k.a. the pleasure neurotransmitter) and shatavari (which balances female hormones related to depression and burnout). Sign us up—it can’t hurt.

Nike’s Oneonta Be True

If Nike’s Space Hippie fell in love with the Teva sandal across the street, they would make sweet, sweet love and birth an Oneonta Be True. Colorful adjustable straps and a heel toggle allow for a customized, comfortable fit, and they come with an ombre carabiner, perfect for hitting the trail or hanging your Supreme x Bang & Olufson Speaker off your handlebars. They’re embroidered with the words “Be True,” and were designed to celebrate the LGBTQ community.

Smoko’s pool floaties

If you have a pool, or live near ANY body of water (ocean, stream, swimming hole, abandoned dunk tank) I highly suggest upping the general mood by bringing out some whimsical inflatables. Even Rat Snitch Brian The Good Time Ruiner will have a hard time fighting the instant joy brought on by SMOKO’s cute new smiling Tayto Potato and Boba Tea pool floats. They are made of soft PVC, and are nearly 5.5 feet long.

La Colombe

Whether you’re a diehard hot coffee drinker or you love sucking down cold brew, La Colombe has a chic summer bundle for everyone. You get to pick your choice of drinkware: a retro, can-shaped glass printed with flowers or a classic sky-blue diner mug for sipping in style. Then, you get to choose your preferred grind for the brand’s medium-roast Summer Haze blend, which features seasonal notes of chocolate mousse, red sangria, and lemon sorbet.

Dickies x Traeger

Dude, do you ever feel like sk8er bros just don’t get your passion for slow-cooked meats? Maybe now you can entice them with some hyphy gear, because we all know skating is about the look, the vibe, and the soul—just like backyard BBQ-ing. Enter: the new Ultimate Grilling Collection from Dickies and Traeger, the leader in wood-pellet grills. The Ultimate Grilling shorts and shirts are outfitted with tons of pockets and holsters for all your grilling tools—plus they're made with Repel Pro stain-resistant fabric with cooling Temp-iQ tech so you stay cool in front of the flames, but look hot cooking.

Barbie… as David Bowie

When the email announcing this absolutely iconic partnership appeared in my inbox, I audibly gasped. This is what I had been waiting my entire life for, I just hadn’t realized it. In honor of the 50th anniversary of David Bowie's album Hunky Dory, the brand just released its second, limited-edition Barbie as David Bowie Doll. It comes fully dressed in an authentic replica of the powder-blue suit Bowie wore in the “Life On Mars?” music video, and if they made it in a matching size for me, I would have already bought it.

B. Thom x Crocs x Stance Collaboration

B. Thom Stevenson is a multi-concentrational artist who is also a decade-long Croc lover. (So are we.) When high-quality sock brand Stance tasked him with creating a design to collaborate with Crocs, Stevenson created a high-contrast floral inspired by the organic floral patterns on his grandmother’s quilts. The artist said he designed them, “as a plein air painters tool—a message that the studio isn’t just four walls and a roof, it’s a STATE OF MIND.” He also designed a set of funky, yet functional jibbitz, and of course coordinating Stance socks.

Crack one open, salute your shorts, and get ready for the three-day weekend, y’all!

The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story. Want more reviews, recommendations, and red-hot deals? Sign up for our newsletter.

Categories: Tech News

Microsoft Exchange servers worldwide hit by stealthy new backdoor

ARS Technica - Thu, 06/30/2022 - 14:57
Microsoft Exchange servers worldwide hit by stealthy new backdoor

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images)

Researchers have identified stealthy new malware that threat actors have been using for the past 15 months to backdoor Microsoft Exchange servers after they have been hacked.

Dubbed SessionManager, the malicious software poses as a legitimate module for Internet Information Services (IIS), the web server installed by default on Exchange servers. Organizations often deploy IIS modules to streamline specific processes on their web infrastructure. Researchers from security firm Kaspersky have identified 34 servers belonging to 24 organizations that have been infected with SessionManager since March 2021. As of earlier this month, Kaspersky said, 20 organizations remained infected.

Stealth, persistence, power

Malicious IIS modules offer an ideal means to deploy powerful, persistent, and stealthy backdoors. Once installed, they will respond to specifically crafted HTTP requests sent by the operator instructing the server to collect emails, add further malicious access, or use the compromised servers for clandestine purposes. To the untrained eye, the HTTP requests look unremarkable, even though they give the operator complete control over the machine.

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Categories: Tech News

The Best Deals This Week, From West Elm Deals to Bulk Dumplings

Motherboard (Vice) - Thu, 06/30/2022 - 14:31

Summer should be a season filled with relaxation, snow cones, ice-cold beer at the beach, outdoor kickbacks, and more importantly of all, a feeling of freedom and possibility—but this year, it’s off to a terrible, terrible start. We’ve got to keep our heads up somehow, despite the endlessly cursed news cycle, and while there are many existentially important causes that deserve our dollars, we can all benefit from a little retail therapy in these trying times. Apologies for the bummer vibes, but we can now take a deep breath and kick off our rundown of this week’s best deals, with our findings for the best discounted home goods, wellness gadgets, sex toys, and more.

Last week, we brought you sweet, sweet savings on Dyson fans, iPads, cookware, and a pasta maker—because we all deserve a carb-based pick-me-up after a treacherous week on our #grind. This week, we found some deep discounts on fan-favorite dumplings, kitchen appliances, high-quality activewear, and more. Get your Ooni oven out, because we’re celebrating these summer sales by burning the Constitution with a fifth-grade style pizza party. So, sit back and unwind (perhaps on your new favorite mattress), while we bring the deals straight to your screen.

The best Amazon deals right now

Our ideal cooking scenario is to throw a bunch of ingredients into a pot and just let it… sit, then open it up to reveal a high-key delicious meal. Does that exist outside of stews and slow-cookers? Why, yes it does. The Ninja Foodi—a gazillion-in-one appliance which we love—does all the work for us with its ability to pressure cook, slow cook, steam, make yogurt, sear, sauté, air fry, bake, roast, broil, and dehydrate. Think of it as that gadget in The Jetsons that can whip up any meal—and hell yeah, it’s 35% off right now.

Our beloved Renpho Eye Massager that we can’t stop raving about (or slapping on our faces) is 31% off right now. This rechargeable device saves our faces after long days of screentime, because it reduces the appearance of under-eye circles and helps relieve eye strain using compression and heat. It also has Bluetooth connectivity, two different settings to trigger pressure points, and a 4.4-star average rating. No wonder it’s a Rec Room fave.

We love to say we start our days on a fun, exciting note, but truthfully, the only thing that’s poppin’ in the morning is our toaster. We want our Wonder Bread to be browned to lightly caramelized perfection, and the GE Stainless Steel Toaster gets the job done every time. It delivers seven levels of crispiness, and has extra-wide slots for thicc bagels and French toast, all for 20% off right now.

Taylor Stitch’s summer sale

Summer is here, which means it’s time to update your threads, dude. San Francisco-based menswear brand Taylor Stitch is looking out for us with its seasonal sitewide sale with items up to 30% off. We’re eyeing this Western-style shirt, which is a staple fit for being a plus-one to a wedding. The sale is running through July 4, so you better get goin’, cowboy.

 Fly By Jing’s 4th of July sale

We’re already hardcore fans of Fly By Jing’s frozen dumplings, viral chile crisp, and at-home hot pot kit, so it’s our duty to spread the Sichuan-flavored love with the brand’s Fourth of July sale with savings up to 25% off. There’s never a bad time to stock up on delicious pantry staples, so cop the dumpling variety pack while it’s 15% off, or snag the Shorty Spice Box Set for 25% off.

Nectar Sleep’s 4th of July super sale

If you snooze you lose—on these deals. Nectar Sleep is offering up to 30% off on sale items if your sleeping situation needs some sprucing. The original Nectar Memory Foam Mattress is $599 off, has dynamic support, and cooling technology—you can’t really ask for much more. A bed is nothing without a proper bedding situation, though. We spied the Serenity Sleep Weighted Blanket for $30 off, too, which is designed to absorb body heat and provide instant cooling.

Ella Paradis’ sitewide sale

After feasting on hot dogs at the barbecue, the best way to celebrate America is to plow your fellow patriot. Ella Paradis is currently offering up to 85% off sitewide so you can ramp up the pleasure in the bedroom. The Better Love Double Stimulation Bundle is marked down by 87%, and come with a vibrator, dual-purpose masturbator, and vibrating cock ring.

West Elm’s clearance sale

We could all use a little home update, so it’s a good thing that the aesthetic furniture lairds at West Elm are  holding a warehouse sale with deals up to 70% off. One of our favorites is a desk that pops out of a bookshelf, because we love being functional and discreet. And, to make your workspace less drab, snag some gold planters to liven things up a bit.

Stay cool, and see ya next week.

The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story. Want more reviews, recommendations, and red-hot deals? Sign up for our newsletter.

Categories: Tech News

OpenSea phishing threat after rogue insider leaks customer email addresses

The Register - Thu, 06/30/2022 - 14:20
Worse, imagine someone finding out you bought one of its NFTs

The choppy waters continue at OpenSea, whose security boss this week disclosed the NFT marketplace suffered an insider attack that could lead to hundreds of thousands of people fending off phishing attempts.…

Categories: Tech News

I Started Baking on a Cedar Plank, and It's True Flavor Magic

Motherboard (Vice) - Thu, 06/30/2022 - 14:15

The longer I live in New York City, the less I cook. Not that I don’t enjoy making kugel or curry, but my energy is needed elsewhere right now. Most of my time is spent schlepping, sleeping, doomscrolling, boozing, and adding that essential 652nd item to my Etsy favorites list. It’s something I’ve come to accept warmly, like a pad of butter in the sun.

That doesn’t mean, however, that I’ll settle for a bleh rotation of the few homemade meals that fill up my week. If I’m making what my Midwestern mother calls my “tofu thing,” I’ll use a really nice Sichuan chile crisp; if I’m frying eggs, I’ll sprinkle some gourmet Maldon salt on top. So, when the Instagram algorithm blessed me with this enticing recipe of beets baked on cedar planks, I fell in love with vegetables all over again.

The recipe is by @gabbriette, who deserves to be showered in rubies and oysters for all the joy and 90s eyebrow inspiration she brings to my feed. As delish as the zesty crème fraîche and goat cheese sauce in her video looked, I was most intrigued by the cedar planks she used to give her beets a subtle, smoky flavor from the oven.

As a grill-less, patio-less, very lazy person, I imagined the road to Flavortown that these planks could pave for me. So, I smashed that order button on one of the most highly rated plank sets on Amazon, and pulled out my wilting fridge veggies for a smoky swan song.

First impressions

The packaging on these planks is very Liver-King-core, and each set of the Primal Grilling cedar planks bundle presents your five slabs of wood in a burlap-ish package that would make a sick housewarming gift, White Elephant item, or present for your parents or food-obsessed pal.

FullSizeRender.jpegPhoto by Author

These Primal planks have a 4.7-star average rating from over 1,200 ratings on Amazon, which is hella impressive, given the unhinged nature of many *chef’s kiss* Amazon reviews. They didn’t smell at all chemical-y when I unwrapped them, either. Instead, I got a whiff of a woodsy scent that gave me a comforting, nostalgic feeling for the Canadian lumberjack past I never had. I think the Germans call that Fernweh?

What was rad

I had high expectations for these planks, and imagined them saving my beets and carrots from the notorious crisper-drawer-to-trash-can pipeline. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thrown out barely used bundles of herbs, veggies, and boxed spring salad mix from the fridge. So, I lined up the following from my kitchen for an easy oven bake:

  • Fresh rosemary
  • Fresh thyme
  • Beets
  • Carrots 
  • Garlic clove
  • Goat Cheese 
  • Avocado 
  • Garlic 
  • Tahini
  • Maldon salt

A few other tools and tasties I used included a mandoline for slicing my beets, because Gabbriette and my plant-based recipe queen Sophia Roe told me to; my trusty eight-inch iMarku blade, which is one of the best fancy chef’s knives under $50 that your clams can buy; a big-ass baking sheet with a lip; and my Nicolas Alziari French olive oil, which brings a buttery, slightly nutty flavor to everything.

Before you do anything, remember: You must soak your planks in water. The recommended time is one hour, but I did two just to be safe. Then, I lightly oiled up my planks, tossed on my seasoned veggies, and roasted them for about an hour at 375 degrees Fahrenheit. During the last ten minutes, I turned down the heat a bit, tossed on my herbs, and absolutely gobsmacked my nose with a newfound aroma of veggies and cedar. It was mouthwateringly woodsy and smoky, but not in an overwhelming way—more in a “my vegetables have been at a Finnish sauna” way. And amazingly, my planks—which I had convinced myself would combust in the oven—were not even charred.

IMG_1171.jpegPhoto by Author

I spread some tahini on my plate, positioned my veggies and avocado like a serial killer, and then garnished it all with Maldon salt, more olive oil, goat cheese, and some chili flakes. I also recommend enjoying this refined meal with a cold glass of Grüner Veltliner, which pairs nicely with the delicate, tingly pine of the planks.

IMG_1177.jpegPhoto by Author

Not one beet was left behind. My planks were unscathed, easy to clean, and still give me that tingly mouth feeling just thinking about them—they’re just that bomb. Not only that, but they made me feel like a hot granny hedgehog, sprinkling my herbs over planks of wood.

What was tricky

These MOFOs float! That’s tricky, when you need to soak them. So I weighed mine down with a cast-iron skillet, but you could also just ask your sub to sit on them for an hour. The possibilities are endless.


Are you a hot, lazy person who likes to cook but doesn’t have the bandwidth right now? Do you want an easy way to make the vegetables, fish, and meats in your life more interesting than most of the people you hang out with? Consider cedar planks your new summer accomplice for impressing everyone with food that tastes like you actually know what you’re doing. From the grill to the oven, they can give everything a subtle smoky flavor (think, the ghost of wood, or wood if it was from a Miyazaki movie) that isn’t overbearing in a mezcal-smoke way, but mouthwatering in a more more of a playful, camphoraceous way that just adds more layers and complexity to your ingredients. See? We’re sounding fancy already.

In other words, as someone whose summertime food groups are usually Flamin’ Hot Cheetos and stuff I did not bake myself, these trusty cedar planks have me hooked. I can’t imagine popping anything in the oven without them.

You can find the Primal Grilling cedar planks on Amazon.

The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story. Want more reviews, recommendations, and red-hot deals? Sign up for our newsletter.

Categories: Tech News

Daily Horoscope: July 1, 2022

Motherboard (Vice) - Thu, 06/30/2022 - 14:00

The moon in Leo makes a harmonious connection with Jupiter in Aries at 11:49 AM, inspiring an expansive atmosphere, and finding us feeling especially in touch with our inner voices and eager to explore new possibilities. The moon connects with Venus in Gemini at 5:59 PM, bringing a fun, flirtatious energy—but intense conversations could take place as Mars in Aries squares off with Pluto in Capricorn at 10:14 PM. A small disagreement might become a big argument, egos can clash, and control issues may come to the surface. Find healthy, productive ways to express your rage!

All times ET.

Stay in the cosmic loop with the VICE horoscopes newsletter. Get horoscopes straight to your inbox when you sign up here!

Aries glyph Aries: March 20, 2022 - April 19, 2022

Your ruling planet Mars is currently in your sign, Aries, which can find you feeling especially energized! But Mars squares off with Pluto in Capricorn today, which might find you short-tempered, especially toward anyone seeking to control or belittle you. It’s an important time to set boundaries and find healthy ways to express your anger.

Taurus glyphs Taurus: April 19, 2022 - May 20, 2022

Action planet Mars is currently in Aries, which can find you feeling restless. An argument about your beliefs may take place as Mars squares off with Pluto in Capricorn. If you’ve been feeling like someone has been trying to control how you think, you could decide that enough is enough.

Gemini glyph Gemini: May 20, 2022 - June 21, 2022

Drama may arise in your social life as Mars in Aries squares off with Pluto in Capricorn. You can be very clear on what you want from life right now, and perhaps feeling defensive about people standing in your way or telling you what to do!

Cancer glyph Cancer: June 21, 2022 - July 22, 2022

A difficult partnership may reach a turning point as Mars in Aries squares off with Pluto in Capricorn. A power struggle could lead to an ending—but if it’s possible to let go of the past, a paradigm shift can take place.

Leo glyph Leo: July 22, 2022 - August 22, 2022

It’s a powerful time to break an old habit. If you’re feeling micromanaged, you may be especially irritated about that today. Mars in Aries squares off with Pluto in Capricorn, which can find you confronting an issue you’re eager to transform—just watch out for short tempers.

Virgo glyph Virgo: August 22, 2022 - September 22, 2022

The mood is intense today. Your love life may be ultra passionate! But you could also feel extremely impatient or short-tempered, especially about money. If you feel like someone is being manipulative or withholding, you might be eager to cut them out of your life. Find healthy ways to express your anger.

Libra glyph Libra: September 22, 2022 - October 23, 2022

A confrontation could take place today. An intense mood may be in the air as Mars in Aries squares off with Pluto in Capricorn. You’re not tolerating bad energy at home or in your personal life; your patience is very short for bad behavior.

Scorpio glyph Scorpio: October 23, 2022 - November 22, 2022

Your two ruling planets, Mars (currently in Aries) and Pluto (now in Capricorn), square off today, which can find an intense conversation coming to a head. You may be eager to take action, but it would be wise to do so patiently, and to keep your temper in check.

Sagittarius glyph Sagittarius: November 22, 2022 - December 21, 2022

A powerful shift in your love life or your creative process might take place. An intense conversation about money could be had, and if you’re feeling manipulated or controlled, you can confront the issue head-on as Mars in Aries squares off with Pluto in Capricorn.

Capricorn glyph Capricorn: December 21, 2021 - January 19, 2022

Mars in Aries squares off with the planet of power, Pluto, which is currently in your sign, Capricorn, meaning a big change is happening in your home, family, or personal life. Your temper could be especially short. Find healthy ways to express your anger!

Aquarius glyphs Aquarius: January 19, 2022 - February 18, 2022

Action planet Mars is in Aries, activating the communication sector of your chart, and it squares off with Pluto in Capricorn today, finding you having an especially intense conversation. Something you hadn’t thought was an issue could be irritating you now. Set boundaries and find healthy ways to express your anger.

Pisces glyph Pisces: February 18, 2022 - March 20, 2022

An intense conversation about money may take place as Mars in Aries squares off with Pluto in Capricorn. A big shift could occur in your social life or the groups or communities you belong to. A shift in power might also be taking place; one that’s quite dramatic!

Categories: Tech News

USB installer tool removes Windows 11’s Microsoft account requirements (and more)

ARS Technica - Thu, 06/30/2022 - 13:45
The Rufus tool will offer to modify your Windows 11 install media when you create it. The workaround for the Microsoft account requirement is new to the 3.19 beta.

Enlarge / The Rufus tool will offer to modify your Windows 11 install media when you create it. The workaround for the Microsoft account requirement is new to the 3.19 beta. (credit: Andrew Cunningham)

One of the new "features" coming to the Windows 11 22H2 update is a Microsoft account requirement for all new installs, regardless of whether you are using the Home or Pro version of the operating system. And that's too bad, because the 22H2 update corrects a few of Windows 11's original shortcomings while adding some nice quality-of-life improvements.

An easy workaround for this requirement is the Rufus USB formatting tool, which can create USB install media for Windows and all kinds of other operating systems. Rufus has already offered some flags to remove Windows 11's system requirements checks from the installer, removing the need for clunky Windows Registry edits and other workarounds. But the beta of version 3.19 will also remove the Microsoft account requirement for new installs, making it easy to set up a new Windows PC with a traditional local account.

When setting up Windows 11, make sure not to connect your PC to the Internet before creating your user account. This trick worked to circumvent the Microsoft account requirement in Windows 11 Pro and some of the later versions of Windows 10 but is being removed entirely from Windows 11 22H2. The Rufus tool merely reverts to the pre-22H2 status quo.

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Categories: Tech News

Jenkins warns of security holes in these 25 plugins

The Register - Thu, 06/30/2022 - 13:22
Relax, most of the vulnerabilities so far have, er, no fix

Jenkins, an open-source automation server for continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD), has published 34 security advisories covering 25 plugins used to extend the software.…

Categories: Tech News

FCC says it closed a loophole that many robocallers used to evade blocking

ARS Technica - Thu, 06/30/2022 - 13:19
Person's hand holding a smartphone that is receiving a call from an unknown caller.

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | grinvalds)

The Federal Communications Commission today said it closed a robocall loophole by requiring small phone companies to implement the caller ID authentication technology known as STIR and SHAKEN.

Large voice providers were required to implement STIR/SHAKEN a year ago. But there was an exemption for carriers with 100,000 or fewer customers that would have given those smaller companies until June 30, 2023, to comply.

The FCC voted in December to move that deadline up to June 30, 2022, because small phone companies were apparently carrying a disproportionately high number of illegal robocalls.

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Categories: Tech News

Backed Hard: The Best Stuff We (Actually) Bought in June

Motherboard (Vice) - Thu, 06/30/2022 - 13:11

Welcome back to Backed Hard, our monthly cornucopia of the best stuff your trusted Rec Room staff tried, loved, and now wishes to evangelize. We are online shopping wizards, traversing far and wide to try the weird, wonderful, and wack and report it all back to you, dear reader, so you know what’s actually worth those hard-earned clams procured from your personal role in the chains of capitalism. For real, though, window shopping on the web is a joy, but actually smashing that “add to cart” button—and then, even more harrowing, that “confirm purchase” button—can be frightening. Learn from our adventures, mistakes, and risks, and rest assured that everything we back hard, we genuinely love. 

Last month’s editors' picks included retro-cool, TikTok-viral headphones; next-level instant noodles; and a budget suction vibrator that will make you come so hard you feel like you’re getting head from Jesus Christ himself (don’t read this, Mom!). This month, we’ve tracked down AI-optimized mood-boosting sunglasses and Michelin-star-worthy spice rubs, as well as affordable earbuds and A+ Ray-Ban dupes you can buy on Amazon for less than 20 bucks. Read on to see what our writers and editors lived, laughed, loved in June 2022, and precisely why they’re so very worth it. 

A box fan that spices up the floor next to your bed

There’s nothing worse than trying to fall (or stay) asleep in the summer and lying awake in your damp, tousled sheets at 4 a.m. because you’re drenched in sweat and your mind is relentlessly cranking the chorus of “Champagne Supernova” on repeat. And while A/C certainly helps, a good old-fashioned fan not only keeps the indoor breeze goin’, but also offers that hummy white noise that helps to shut your brain off (or at least mine). Unfortunately, a lot of fans are butt-ugly—but I appreciate that Lasko’s Cool Colors fan at least insists on manifesting a variety of colors such as royal blue, purple, and “Fuschia Supreme” for something as utilitarian as a box fan. It was a tough call to make a color selection, but I went with the blue—although I kind of think purple has the most swag. Bonus: This thing is powerful—when you sit in front of it, you’ll feel like you’re in a soft-focus hair metal video. —Angel Kilmister

The best planters for a city fire escape

I sure love my Brooklyn fire escape—or “balcony,” as I refer to it when I’m on the phone with my mother. Sadly, it doesn’t have the square footage to hold my buns and a bunch of heavy pots, but I was still so inspired by these DIY city gardeners to be my best herbaceous summer self that I ordered a bunch of pollinator plant seeds, worm castings (this compost is like Four Loko for your plants, trust me), and this trio of affordable plant hangers. They’re incredibly lightweight, and put my precious seedlings on my horizon line so that I’m staring at greenery—and not my fuggo neighboring building—when I wake up. —Mary Frances “Francky” Knapp 

A mineral-based spray sunscreen that’s really, actually sheer

We never undersell the importance of wearing sunscreen here at Rec Room, and have consulted dermatologists, ourselves, and skincare memelords the Dewy Dudes in pursuit of the best SPF options. But come summer, my personal fave is this sprayable mineral sunscreen from clean skincare brand Pacifica, which smells amazing, works great (I have dodged many, many sunburns thanks to it), and does not—I repeat, does not!—leave a white cast that makes you look like Nosferatu. It sprays on white so that you can make sure you’re covering all of the areas you want to cover, but then rubs in completely sheer—I promise. —Hilary Pollack

Fire & Smoke Society’s ridiculously tasty spice rubs

In case you haven’t been paying attention, we’re big fans of flavor here at Rec Room, and while I’m not usually a premade spice blend guy, I’ve gotta say: These Fire & Smoke Society rubs slap. My two favorites are the Thundering Longhorn beef rub—which made a recent brisket taste chef’s kiss—and The Usual, an all-purpose mix that will be going on all of the savory dishes I make for the foreseeable future. The ancho chile and espresso (trust me, it works) in the Thundering Longhorn give meat a rich, complex flavor without overpowering the natural taste of the beef, while the rosemary, garlic, and lemon in The Usual make it perfect for sprinkling over roasted potatoes. —Ian Burke 

This coffee maker makes like 20 espresso shots

FINALLY. I’ve been trying to catch this boy all day. My roommate and I used to alternate making two or three small moka pots of espresso a day, until we realized it just doesn’t have to be that way. This 10-cup Bialetti is a stainless steel and aluminum beast (and very easy to use—just peep this three-minute YouTube tuto), and one pot makes enough espresso for us both to have a few Americanos each, or what feels like a million shots of espresso. “For years my go-to has been a French press,” writes one of its over 9,100 reviewers on Amazon, where it has amassed a 4.6-star rating, “Although tasty, I've been wanting something that makes a smaller [and] less silty cup without sacrificing strength. This Bialetti hits the mark!” —Mary Frances “Francky” Knapp

Momofuku’s insanely delicious black-truffle-infused chile crunch

I am a connoisseur of chilies, a sommelier of spice—I’ve seen every episode of Hot Ones, and Da Bomb resides in my fridge… but I don’t go HAM for truffles. Listen, if you’re shaving a fresh truffle over my plate of pasta, I’ll be delighted, but in terms of packaged foods and oils, they tend to fall just short of the real thing. Not Momofuku’s Black Truffle Chili Crunch—it’s made with real pieces of truffle and truffle concentrate, plus all the other good stuff that make the original so tasty, like sesame seeds, onions, garlic, and shallots; along with umami-packed ingredients like mushroom powder, yeast extract and seaweed. I have been slathering it on eggs, dousing my pizza slices, and drizzling atop my avo toast—it’s truly scrumptious. —Becca Blasdel

These mood-boosting sunglasses that enhance color

SPY+ is an optic wear brand making sunglasses, eyeglasses, and goggles for sporty types—they’re big, polarized, and glare-resistant to keep you from squinting while you’re running, snowboarding, surfing, or just jogging with your fellow furries. SPY+ recently debuted its HAPPY BOOST™ Lens Technology, which enhances the color and contrast of your surroundings by 30% more than the naked eye, thanks to some sort of process involving AI that sounds interesting and complicated. Anyway, I’ve been enjoying wearing these aviator-style CZARs while hiking and enjoying an enhanced experience of gazing upon bodies of water and admiring my neighbor’s bougainvillea. 

…And these Ray-Ban dupes that I got for $17.99 on Amazon

Unfortunately or maybe charmingly, I am addicted to buying sunglasses—I love how instantly they change an outfit’s vibe, and I go through quite a few pairs by letting them bounce around in my backpack case-free just livin’ hard, man. I love Ray-Ban’s round styles and have been eyeballin’ the black-on-black Robs for a while, but given my addiction and my tendency to break things live hard, I thought it wise to find an affordable dupe rather than drop 163 bones on a real pair. I scooped up this pair on Amazon for 18 bucks, and was pleasantly surprised to find that the metal frame is sturdy, the lenses are polarized, and they actually look better on me than the Robs did when I tried them on in-store. Plus, they have a tiny logo etched on the top of the lens that make them look spensi. —Hilary Pollack

Old-school earbuds that are only 20 bucks

With earbuds, I like to keep it simple and cheap. I buy Sony’s In-Ear Buds for just $20 (they’re on sale for $10 on Amazon) and they last such a long time that’s jaw-dropping for the price. Yes, they have the long obnoxious wire. There’s also an attached mic for taking calls. I like sticking to the classics, and they give me a proper dose of daily nostalgia that I crave. AirPods better watch out. —Nicolette Accardi

The Act + Acre Cold Processed hair products that stylists stan 

It’s been over a month since I subjected my scalp to rigorous testing, and while I have enjoyed many of the products, Act + Acre’s Daily Duo has crept its way into my regular routine. I was skeptical when the bottle of cold processed hair cleanse said to lather, rinse, repeat (I thought that was a marketing gimmick)—but it works. First off, you need to “activate” the product in your hands with water first, creating a rich foam—the brand suggests working from the nape of the neck forward. I feel a noticeable difference in the texture and feel of my hair between the first and second cleanse; the first barely lathers, so you can really work product into the roots, while the second go-round froths up quite nicely, covering ends and leaving hair slippery and soft.  I indulgently used the Restorative hair mask as a conditioner each time I washed, and my only complaint is that the tube wasn’t bigger. My hair feels cleaner, healthier, and air-dries very nicely. —Becca Blasdel

Nashville hot chicken chicharrones—seriously 

The best part of fried chicken is the skin—duh. Some resourceful person realized this and started Flock, a line of keto-friendly chicken skin chips that are basically poultry chicharrones. They’re low-carb, and high-protein, and most importantly, come in a collab flavor with Nashville institution Hattie B’s, known for its supreme hot chicken. They’re ultra-crispy, sweet, salty, and spicy; yep, that’s ghost chili pepper in there. They’re also highly addictive, speaking from experience.  —Hilary Pollack

The perfect non-stick cookie sheets

I know it’s not the sexiest purchase in this lineup, but you can’t really call your kitchen complete until you’ve got at least two sheet trays living in your oven. These non-stick cookie sheets from Nutrichef have absolutely lived up to their 4.6-star average rating on Amazon, since they don’t warp, have a high-rimmed edge, and are dishwasher-safe. (Not that I have one.) But the best thing about sheet pans is their versatility—you can bake cookies, roast meat and veggies, and broil to your heart's content. —Ian Burke 

A Fitbit, finally

Training for a race means having to log every mile. Sounds like a pain in the ass, huh? Yep—that’s why I snagged a smartwatch to do all the work for me: the Fitbit Inspire. Besides the beauty of logging my sweet little jogs, it tracks my heart rate so I know when it's time to chill out. I love exerting energy, but there’s a fine line, my guy. It’s one of the simplest models, but it gets the job done. —Nicolette Accardi

This goblin-mode print

Do you have a crush on everyone in Heironymous Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights? Is your other car a decomposing log? Congratulations! You’re goblincore. You should celebrate by taking home this trippy print by the Berlin-based artist Adrienne Kammerer and blasting Magic Dance. Bonus tip: Have a staring contest with the print the next time you’re shrooming to unlock exxxtra ethereal swamp feels. —Mary Frances “Francky” Knapp

A post-shower body lotion that absorbs in seconds

I recently joined a new gym, and I’ve been trying to perfectly optimize my gym bag to contain everything I need without being overloaded or cluttered, and that includes post-shower skincare goods. After you’ve just worked out, then sudsed up, it feels amazing to moisturize, but I also dislike the feeling of being sticky after applying lotion. Soft Services makes a variety of minimalist, all-gender skincare products, and the latest addition to its roster is this Speed Soak gel, which the brand describes as “Gatorade for your skin.” I concur; it absorbs super-fast and leaves zero stickiness, perfect for when you’re hopping out of the shower and need to get dressed in just a few minutes. —Hilary Pollack

A desk chair that doesn’t have late-capitalism vibes

I wanted a desk chair that wouldn’t remind me of work every time I looked at it, and I can personally confirm that this swiveling velvet chair does, in fact, spark joy. It’s funky, it’s soft, and it’s where I plan on parking my seat for the rest of my life—or its life, whichever comes first. It took me maybe five minutes to assemble (including unboxing), not to mention it keeps my bum alive during those long WFH days. (Plus, the swivel is a fun way to soothe my restless leg syndrome.) —Zoe Pelikan

An exfoliating washcloth with cult-fave status

This might not be your first time hearing about the magically gentle exfoliating powers of these extra-large nylon washcloths, but chances are they’ve probably been lurking in your soft-skinned friends' showers for ages. I was recently reminded of their brilliance after snagging a blue one in the checkout line at Fei Long Market, in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. After a week of washing with my new Salux before shaving, I had noticeably less bumps and ingrown hairs, leaving my skin baby-soft and allowing for a much closer shave. Thank god I remembered you can order them on Amazon, even though I’d happily make another trek to procure them. —Becca Blasdel

The banana-flavored Minion soda I never knew I needed

Ever wanted a Minion-themed, banana-cream-flavored, sparkling prebiotic beverage? You, dear friend, are in luck, because that’s exactly what OLIPOP recently released, and it’s as delicious as it is internet-ironic. Read the full review here, or, if TL;DR, just know that it tastes exactly like banana-flavored Laffy Taffy, and pick up a case below. —Angel Kilmister

The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story. Want more reviews, recommendations, and red-hot deals?Sign up for our newsletter.

Categories: Tech News

An Entire Stadium Went Nuts for a Small Indie Game, Pride, and the Threat of Axe Based Violence

Motherboard (Vice) - Thu, 06/30/2022 - 12:53

At yesterday’s Portland Timbers game, fans erected a huge mural for Pride, featuring the main character from indie game Night In The Woods wielding an axe.

The Timbers Army is an independent group of fans who gather together to create what soccer and European football fans call tifo, which are huge pieces of art to display their fandom. They’ve used figures from popular culture, like Freddy Krueger from Nightmare on Elm St., in their works before. Their pride-related mural from yesterday not only included an enormous painting of Mae Borowski, the humanoid cat main character from Night in the Woods, but also mimicked the font, color scheme, and general aesthetic from the game. Their tifo read, “From Stonewall a brick, and Portland an axe, respect our pride or expect our wrath,” with other fans holding up signs with anti-LGBTQ legislation to “axe,” as it were.

Night in the Woods, a hit indie game from developers Infinite Fall, is about the trials and tribulations of a small group of friends in the fictional Rust Belt town of Possum Springs. While the game goes a lot of places, the characters it’s concerned with are also dealing with the stagnation of their hometown, being queer, and having urgent mental health crises. While Mae wields a baseball bat rather than an axe, this game does encompass the themes of solidarity and pride that Timbers’ fans expressed in their mural.

Scott Benson, one of the lead developers on Night in the Woods, told Waypoint that he thought the tifo was really cool to see.

“Really pleased that Mae keeps popping up in cool places and for cool reasons,” he said. “Seeing a giant bootleg version of a character you drew in your apartment years back used as a giant representation of resistance and survival during a time of reactionary violence and increased danger is really something. We support the message and the implied threat of axe violence.”

Categories: Tech News

California state's gun control websites expose 10 years of personal data

The Register - Thu, 06/30/2022 - 12:08
And some of it may have been leaked on social media

A California state website exposed the personal details of anyone who applied for a concealed-and-carry weapons (CCW) permit between 2011 and 2021.…

Categories: Tech News

Democrats Are Not Going to 'Vote Harder,' Primaries Show

Motherboard (Vice) - Thu, 06/30/2022 - 11:47

Shortly after a draft Supreme Court decision leaked suggesting the court would overturn Roe v Wade, the White House released a statement that read in part, “if the Court does overturn Roe, it will fall on our nation’s elected officials at all levels of government to protect a woman’s right to choose. And it will fall on voters to elect pro-choice officials this November.”

The Court, of course, did overturn Roe, and the message from the Democratic Party establishment has mostly been the same, a reaction that is most aptly summarized by the emerging meme of “Vote Harder.” The general theme is similar to the White House’s: If you don’t like it, vote for someone who will change it, an argument that sounds intuitive enough while obviously serving a political purpose for a party nearly everyone expects to get trounced in the midterms.

The Vote Harder meme has spread as a counterargument, a mocking of the party that keeps telling us to vote harder for a party that will eternally disappoint us. It is a phrase deployed by progressives and liberals frustrated with a Democratic establishment that has had control—however tenuous—of the House, Senate, and the Presidency for the last two years with virtually nothing to show for it, while an emboldened conservative majority on the Court decimates women's rights, the rights of states to enact sensible gun laws, and the federal government’s ability to fight climate change. In one week, the Supreme Court has accomplished more for the political Right than Democrats have in all branches of government for the last half-century combined.

For those paying close attention, one might notice Democrats specifically mention November when they encourage Americans to “vote harder.” They conveniently leave out the primary races that often determine what kind of Democrat we’ll be voting for, an important distinction considering the Democratic party is a coalition to a much greater degree than the Republican party. Whether intentional or not, Democratic party members seem to have internalized that message, as turnout in the primaries has been abysmal, to say the least.

New York held a primary on Tuesday which, in effect, decides who the next governor will be due to the overwhelming majority of democrats in the state. 864,968 registered democrats voted, just 14 percent of eligible voters. In the same primary cycle in 2018, 1,490,723 people voted. That’s a whopping 42 percent decline in democrat voters. Six out of seven registered democrats couldn’t be bothered to vote for our next governor. Turnout in Illinois was similarly pathetic. Ohio democrats also couldn’t be bothered. Colorado was better but still down from previous years.

Vote Harder is a way of calling out the democratic establishment for gaslighting its supporters about why this is happening. This reality has almost nothing to do with vote tallies. Five of the nine Supreme Court justices were chosen by presidents who lost the popular vote. In regards to the Roe decision, Chief Justice John Roberts’ documented hesitancy to completely overturn the decision was rendered moot by the last-minute appointment of Amy Coney Barrett in the final days of the Trump presidency. Then-Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell rushed through that confirmation in the final days of an outgoing presidency, despite having previously held off confirmation hearings for more than a year for Merrick Garland under the guise that “the people” should determine the next Supreme Court justice in the forthcoming presidential election. This, of course, was a (completely made up) right he then denied to “the people” who elected Joe Biden. The real reason, of course, was because Garland did not pass the arch-conservative Federalist Society’s ideological purity test while Barrett very much did. In this very important instance, Democrats voted harder than Republicans and it didn’t matter.

These circumstances, which fundamentally altered the makeup of the Court and set the stage for the last week’s about-face of American society, had little to do with vote counts. It had everything to do with the exercise of power and which side of the American political spectrum has demonstrated a greater proficiency with it over the last 50 years. One other ruling the Court made this week was reinstating a redistricting map for Louisiana that even a conservative lower court found likely violated the Voting Rights Act. This Supreme Court ruling reinforced the very real way in which some people’s votes in this country count more than others, and many of our votes basically don’t count at all but are rather public performances to validate a predetermined outcome. And it may only get worse from here, as the Court agreed to hear a case next year regarding the so-called “independent state legislature doctrine” that would at best gut voting rights and at worst make elections totally irrelevant as state legislatures could simply override them. Vote Harder for the person already going to win.

Democrats would be wise to recognize how these events, including the election of a president who got trounced in the popular vote and confirmed three justices in one term, underscore the fundamentally anti-Democratic nature of modern America rather than trying to brute-force an anti-democratic system with more votes in places they don’t count. Democrats have been voting, and voting dutifully, for decades, only to watch six unelected rubes writing nation-changing rules that differentiate only from internet hot takes by the cloak of legitimacy the black robes they don afford them.

One could read the low primary voter turnout as democrats being a bunch of quitters, not as committed to their cause as Republicans are. But that would be a fundamental misreading of the situation. Democrat voters increasingly recognize they are not a blue wave of change, but backing the side flailing wildly in the ring while the other lands its calculated punches. Many democrats, both reluctant and enthusiastic, have been virtually begging elected officials to show some fight over the last week, to do something to show the Court they won’t simply sit back and watch a half-century and more of established rights get flushed out. One thing they could do is suggest out loud that the Court is risking its legitimacy, that Americans no longer regard it as an authority due to its blatant politicization, that the cloak of legitimacy is getting awfully billowy these days and the hyper-partisan political winds threaten to blow them off.

One of these days, they might suggest, America’s governors or even the president might revive that old Andrew Jackson quote, “John Marshall has made his decision,” referring to the then-Supreme Court justice, “now let him enforce it.” The rub, of course, being that the Supreme Court cannot. It is up to us to determine whether we should listen to them. And when the court invents a legal pretext to say the Clean Air Act does not allow the Environmental Protection Agency to make air clean, condemning future generations of American children the Court is forcing women to have to an increasingly inhospitable planet, why should we? It is a question, at the very least, worth asking. Why are elected Democrats, by and large, not asking it? Until then, we have nothing—and no one—to vote harder for.

Categories: Tech News

Intel ships crypto-mining ASIC at the worst possible time

The Register - Thu, 06/30/2022 - 10:39
Chipmaker finally ahead of schedule only to find it arrived too late

Comment  Intel has begun shipping its cryptocurrency-mining "Blockscale" ASIC slightly ahead of schedule, and the timing could not be more unfortunate as digital currency values continue to plummet.…

Categories: Tech News

Apple outs its invite-only program that rewards VIP forum members 

ARS Technica - Thu, 06/30/2022 - 10:38
MacBook Pro back

Enlarge (credit: Samuel Axon)

Apple made its Community+ Program common knowledge this week. Similar to other tech companies like Dell, HP, and Microsoft, Apple has been rewarding the knowledgeable volunteers who frequently contribute to its online support community.

As spotted via iClarified on Wednesday, Apple launched the Apple Community+ Program webpage, which details a program that annually invites a small number of forum members to enjoy special rewards. An Apple rep told Ars Technica that while the webpage is new, the program "has been around for a few years." It's likely that since only a small number of people get to participate in the program, there hasn't been much chatter about it before the page's launch.

The Community+ members receive "special perks, white-glove experiences, and more," according to the program's page, but Apple didn't specify what that means, and the company declined to provide Ars Technica more details about the rewards.

Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Categories: Tech News

Q Is Back and It’s Tearing the QAnon World Apart

Motherboard (Vice) - Thu, 06/30/2022 - 10:36

Jim Watkins clearly doesn’t know how his own website works.

The owner and operator of 8kun, the fringe message board that the anonymous leader of QAnon calls home, has, over the course of the last week, made multiple egregious and obvious errors that provide clear evidence that he is behind the first new Q posts after 18 months of silence.

On 8kun, the members of the qresearch board, where Q posts their “Q drops” are angry—very angry— at what they see as a clear and obvious violation of the rules of the website.

But outside of this small circle of believers, the wider QAnon community is still celebrating the return of Q, oblivious to the fact that the new Q drops appear to be written not by a secret military intelligence insider, but by a 58-year-old pig farmer who’s obsessed with fountain pens.

The first new post since Dec. 8, 2020, was posted on Friday, posing the cryptic question: “Shall we play a game once more?”

Several more posts followed soon after, but members of the qresearch board quickly realized something was off. They noticed that just before the first new drop was posted, site administrators had changed the way the site generates the secure tripcodes used to verify anonymous users, such as Q. The one user whose tripcode didn’t change was Q.

Watkins tried to explain away this error by claiming Q’s tripcode was “whitelisted,” but this is just something that is not possible, said Fred Brennan, who created 8chan (as 8kun was known prior to 2018) and worked closely with both Jim and Ron Watkins.

“There’s no way without Q’s password to make a whitelist,” Brennan told VICE News, signaling that Watkins is either lying, or he is Q.

Next, members noticed that the ID on the new Q posts was 00000, which is used when members post updates using the anonymity-focused Tor browser, something which had been disabled since September 2021. The site admins had switched the feature back on just before Q’s first post in 18 months, again suggesting they knew what was coming.

Finally, on Wednesday, Watkins appears to have forgotten that he was logged in as Q, when he responded to an 8kun user calling Watkins “clueless” and “dopey.” Initially, the post and the subsequent Q drop both featured the same ID, but later the ID of the Q drop was changed to 00000, something only Watkins or his administrators could do.

Watkins has tried to explain these errors in a series of posts on other sites, including Gab and Telegram, where he tried to explain away the errors by vaguely suggesting that he had access to quantum computing technology—which he does not.

Watkins also claimed that his son, Ron Watkins, who is currently running for Congress in Arizona, had created many special secret tools that would explain all the strange errors that appeared in recent days.

Brennan believes Jim Watkins is posting the latest updates because he doesn’t think Ron, who was the site’s administrator until November 2020, would have made those errors.

The hamfisted attempts to claim that the new posts came from Q, and Watkins’ effort to explain away those mistakes, have been blasted by many on the qresearch board, with one member writing on Wednesday the new drops were “a fraud, like everything the Watkins are connected to.”

Brennan says that such backlash is almost unprecedented, and that he’s never seen this sort of internal dissent on 8kun.

And yet, despite all the evidence suggesting the new Q drops were not real, or were at the very least facilitated by Watkins and his team, the wider QAnon community continues to celebrate Q’s return.

“Q is back” is now a popular refrain among QAnon supporters across sites like Gab, Telegram, and former President Donald Trump’s platform Truth Social, where a version of Q that had emerged in recent months was seen by some as a replacement for the original Q. 

The reason that the vast majority of the QAnon faithful don’t have the questions and doubts that their 8kun compatriots do is that most QAnon supporters have never even visited 8kun, and many don’t really know who Jim Watkins is.

Most QAnon supporters get their information from one of the dozens of influencers who have leveraged the popularity of QAnon to grow their own followings.

As a result, most QAnon supporters will only renounce the new Q drops once the influencers they follow do the same–and so far, those influencers, starved of new content for the last 18 months, don’t appear willing to see the evidence in front of them.

“Ultimately what this means is that the symbiotic relationship between Q and QAnon influencers acts as a buffer between the majority of the community from the hardcore community on the boards that are pushing back on the current Q,” Marc-André Argentino, a PhD candidate at Concordia University who studies QAnon, tweeted

Over the course of Q’s 18-month silence, the power within the movement has shifted from their anonymous account on 8kun to a group of more than a dozen influencers, all of whom have their own way of interpreting what QAnon is and what it means. This situation has spawned the emergence of the JFK cult in Dallas and the QAnon Queen movement in Canada. If Watkins’ attempt to restart Q on 8kun fails, that trend is likely to accelerate.

“If Jim loses the 8kun users. It’s gonna represent a greater decentralization of the movement,” Brennan said.

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Categories: Tech News

The Memeification of R. Kelly and His Crimes

Motherboard (Vice) - Thu, 06/30/2022 - 10:29

R. Kelly, who yesterday was sentenced to 30 years in prison following his conviction of sex trafficking, long used his astronomical success as a musician to cover for his crimes. He had another partner in that: memes.

To Black Americans, R. Kelly is a foundational figure in R&B music. This was a status that gave him an immense amount of power in the music industry, power that he used to repeatedly abuse young women and children. Outside of that community, and in particular to white people, R. Kelly’s music wasn’t the most important thing about him. Kelly was endlessly memeable, allowing him to have a career and legacy for far longer than he should have.

“Trapped in the Closet” was an early viral YouTube saga that had a second and third life as the subject of popular standup jokes, special comedy nights, college dorm drinking games—I even attended a screening of the series at the Music Box Theatre in Chicago. “I Believe I Can Fly” was a longtime karaoke favorite of thousands of Space Jam fans, though it faded in relevance with the ascension of “Ignition (Remix)” as a meme. If you search on YouTube right now, you will find many, many covers of the song by white musicians, including some moderately successful bands like Young The Giant, as well as legitimate celebrities like Adam Levine and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. The Mountain Goats cover of the song ended up on party playlists for a decade.

Like most memes, the remixing of R. Kelly stripped the songs of their context and allowed people to guiltlessly enjoy them, giving the works of a now-convicted sex trafficker cultural cachet for far longer than was reasonable. The act of stripping R. Kelly away and replacing him with a white person—a cover singer, a karaoke bro, a group of college kids drinking—became its own joke. It became a meme. This meant that his songs felt like they had no author, like it was this joke that bounced from artist to artist. Isn’t it so funny that this raunchy, black song sounds so sweet when it’s sung a capella? Isn’t it so funny when a white frat bro mimes “running her hands through my ‘fro” at karaoke while a room of drunk white people scream “it’s the freakin’ weekend baby I’m about to have me some fun?”

Not every R. Kelly meme was so racialized, but they did all have the same effect of stripping away the person who created the work. This is pretty typical for people who become a part of a meme, or create something that becomes a meme. After right wing political actors so thoroughly changed the meaning of the cartoon Pepe into a conservative meme, Matt Furie, the artist who created the comic where Pepe originally appeared, had to sue to stop people from selling merch with his work on it.

As Kelly’s work continued to be popular as memes—divorced from actually being associated with him—he was allowed to continue to prey on women and children in the open. Even his crimes became memes. After a tape surfaced of Kelly having sex with, and urinating on, a teenage girl, Dave Chapelle wrote a sketch where the R&B singer writes a song about peeing on women. In a concert in Ethiopia, Kelly openly asks the crowd if they have their passports and want to come home with him. It’s more than just the tendency in American culture to protect abusive people who are famous. Even as R. Kelly’s new work failed to find an audience, he retained cultural relevance by fading into the background. For an entire generation of people, R. Kelly was the butt of Aziz Ansari jokes, the creator of one of the most absurd music videos of all time, the guy nominally behind a few party anthems, not the man who illegally married Aaliyah when she was only 15 years old or sex trafficked minors.

Categories: Tech News